Regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time, Shawn Corey Carter, known professionally as Jay-Z, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, and businessman. He was born on December 4, 1969, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. After their father, Adnis Reeves, abandoned the family, Jay-Z and his three siblings were raised by their mother, Gloria Carter. He adopted the stage name “Jay-Z” in homage to his mentor Jaz-O, and a play on his childhood nickname of “Jazzy” and a reference to the J/Z subway station near his Brooklyn home.
Jay-Z attended multiple high schools while growing up. He first attended Eli Whitney High School in Brooklyn until it was closed. He then attended nearby George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School which was followed by a stint at Trenton Central High School in Trenton, New Jersey, though he did not graduate.
Career and Businesses
Jay-Z developed a passion for music at a very young age. According to his mother, he used to wake up his siblings at night banging out drum patterns on the kitchen table. She then bought him a boombox for his birthday, which further sparked his interest in music, and he began freestyling and writing lyrics.
Jay-Z was first briefly heard in some of his mentor, Jaz-O’s early recordings in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including “HP Gets Busy”, “The Originators” and “Hawaiian Sophie”. He first became known to a wide audience on the posse cut “Show and Prove” on the 1994 Big Daddy Kane album Daddy’s Home.The young Jay-Z appeared on a popular song by Big L, “Da Graveyard”, and on Mic Geronimo’s “Time to Build”, which also featured early appearances by DMX and Ja Rule in 1995.
With no major label to give him a record deal, Jay-Z sold CDs out of his car and, with Damon “Dame” Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke, he created Roc-A-Fella Records as an independent label in 1995. The next year, after striking a distribution deal with Priority, Jay-Z released his 1996 debut album, Reasonable Doubt. The album reached number 23 on the Billboard 200, and was generally favored by critics. He went on to release other albums over the years such as: My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1997); Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life (1998) which was Jay-Z’s most commercially successful album as it was certified 5× Platinum in the United States and has to date sold over five million copies; Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter (1999); The Dynasty: Roc La Familia (2000) which was originally a compilation album for Roc-A-Fella artists but Def Jam turned into a Jay-Z album; The Blueprint (2001) released hours before the September 11 attacks and in 2019, was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”; The Blueprint2: The Gift & the Curse (2002); The Black Album (2003); Kingdom Come (2006); American Gangster (2007); The Blueprint 3 (2009); Magna Carta Holy Grail (2013); 4:44 (2017).
Jay-Z has also done collaborative albums with other artists. For instance, he collaborated with R. Kelly and released a collaborative studio album, The Best of Both Worlds. Jay-Z has also released the full-length collaborative albums Watch the Throne (2011) with Kanye West and Everything Is Love (2018) with his wife Beyoncé.
Aside music, Jay-Z has also featured in some films and in some cases, produced them. His selected filmography includes: Streets Is Watching (1998); Backstage (2000); State Property (2002); Paper Soldiers (2002); Fade to Black (2004); The Great Gatsby (2013, executive producer); Made in America (2013, documentary); Annie (2014, producer); Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story (2018, executive producer).
Beside the record label he founded in 1995 with Dash and Biggs, Jay-Z is also connected with other recording labels. In 2004, Jay-Z was named president of Def Jam Records, which led to Jay-Z, Dash and Biggs selling their remaining interests in Roc-A-Fella Records and Jay-Z taking control of both of the companies after he fell out with his partners, Dash and Biggs. On May 21, 2009, Jay-Z announced he would be parting ways with Def Jam, as he had struck a multi-million-dollar deal to sign with Live Nation, with whom he would start his Roc Nation imprint that would serve as a record label, talent/management agency, and music publishing company and also partnered up with production team Stargate to start a record label called StarRoc.
As a businessman, Jay-Z has also established himself as a successful entrepreneur with a business empire spanning a variety of industries from clothing lines, beverages, real estate, sport teams, and record labels. He once rapped about his business empire, “I’m not a businessman / I’m a business, man.” To mention but a few of his businesses which include: the popular urban clothing line Rocawear and Roc-a-Fella Films. He also owns the 40/40 Club, an upscale sports bar that opened in New York City and later opened outlets in Atlantic City and Las Vegas (since closed), as well as Atlanta.
List of Jay-Z Tours
Hard Knock Life Tour (1999)
Blueprint Lounge Tour (2001)
Hangar Tour (2006)
American Gangster Live (2007)
Jay-Z Fall Tour/Blueprint 3 Tour (2009–2010)
Magna Carter World Tour (2013–14)
4:44 Tour (2017)
Rock the Mic (with 50 Cent) (2003
Best of Both Worlds Tour (with R. Kelly)
Heart of the City Tour (with Mary J. Blige)
Jay-Z & Ciara Live (with Ciara) (2009)
The Home & Home Tour (with Eminem) (2010)
Watch the Throne Tour (with Kanye West) (2011–12)
Legends of the Summer Stadium Tour (with Justin Timberlake) (2013)
On the Run Tour (with Beyoncé) (2014)
On the Run II Tour (with Beyoncé) (2018)
No Way Out Tour (with Puff Daddy & Bad Boy Records) (1997)
Project Revolution 2008 Europe (with Linkin Park) (2008)
Viva la Vida Tour (with Coldplay) (2008)
U2 360° Tour (with U2) (2009–11)
Known for keeping his personal life very private, Jay-Z got married to his long time girlfriend, Beyoncé on April 4, 2008. On January 7, 2012, they had their first child, Blue Ivy Carter born at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital. Jay-Z released “Glory”, a song dedicated to their child, through his website on January 9, 2012. The song detailed the couple’s pregnancy struggles, including a miscarriage Beyoncé had suffered. Because Blue’s cries were included at the end of the song and she was officially credited on the song as “B.I.C”, she became the youngest person ever (at two days old) to appear on a Billboard chart when “Glory” debuted at No. 74 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. In 2017, they welcomed a set of twins, a daughter named Rumi and a son named Sir.
Jay-Z Net Worth
Jay-Z no doubt is one of the greatest rappers of all times and as well one of the most successful in the industry. In June 2019, Forbes named Jay-Z the first billionaire rap artist. He is currently estimated to worth $1.3 billion